Tezuka’s “Vampires”. Rock.
See here for the details.
Awesome, AWESOME manga.
I know you can buy this manga in French and maybe Italian. Tezukainenglish.com has all the details, as well as a sweet essay on Rock (one of my favorite recurring Tezuka characters) and his descent into evil and subsequent redemption. He is the main character of the Vampires, in the words of Toppei, “the most evil person in the world.” Not bad for a middle school kid, eh? And all the while, he retains that little-kid Tezuka innocence that all his characters seem to have.
There was a live-action + animation hybrid television show of “The Vampires” made by Tezuka Productions in the ’60s. The people were played by live actors, and the animals were animated. I have never seen the show, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but there are several websites you can order the box set from if you have a region-free or region 2 DVD player. Again, tezukainenglish.com has links to where you can buy the DVDs.
Osamu Tezuka is a main character in the story (both the manga and TV show), yet somehow this doesn’t come off as Mary Sue-ing (to use fanfiction terms T_T) or being cocky. He does this in a lot of his works, actually, but the character in “Vampires” is blatantly an Osamu Tezuka who works at Mushi Productions making anime…. Sort of amusing to think that Rock was trying to kill his creator at one point during the story.
Anyhoo, Tezuka plays himself in the TV show!
One main story thread of “The Vampires” is based loosely on Macbeth, and Rock’s full name in the manga, “Makube Rokuro” sounds sort of like “Makubesu,” the title of Macbeth in Japanese. Macbeth is my #1 favorite Shakespeare play of all time, so that’s only further reason for me to love this manga…which is not about vampires, by the way. Technically, the group referred to as “BANPAIYA” (Vampires) in the story are were-animals (werewolves, were-tigers, were-snakes, even a were-alligator!) Kitsune (fox spirits) and some other Japanese youkai are mentioned as part of the group too in part of the story. Quite interesting.